Results tagged ‘ San Francisco Giants ’

What to Watch for: 5.22.13

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Washington Nationals (23-23) vs. San Francisco Giants (26-20)

LHP Gio Gonzalez (3-2, 4.01) vs. LHP Madison Bumgarner (4-2, 3.09)

Gio Gonzalez takes the hill for Washington as the Nationals aim to end their 10-game west coast swing on a high note. He will be opposed by fellow southpaw Madison Bumgarner, who is coming off his worst outing of the season, having allowed nine runs (seven earned) in 4.1 innings of work in Colorado last Friday.

NATIONALS LINEUP:

1. Span CF

2. Harper RF

3. Zimmerman 3B

4. Desmond SS

5. LaRoche 1B

6. Moore LF

7. Espinosa 2B

8. Suzuki C

9. Gonzalez LHP

MIDDLE MEN

The 3-4-5 hitters in Washington’s lineup have hit a combined .315 (52-for-165) with 10 home runs and 33 RBI while pocketing 18 walks and scoring 28 runs in the team’s last 15 games. Those same spots in the order are batting a combined .269 (135-for-501) with 25 HR & 77 RBI for the season.

LONG STREAK OF LONG BALLS

The Nationals have hit at least one home run in 70 consecutive series (none in current series). The last time Washington played a homerless series was during a four-game set at Citi Field, September 12-15, 2011. The Nationals 70-series run is currently the second-longest such streak in MLB (the Rangers have homered in 79 straight series) and the longest streak in DC-baseball history (1901-71, 2005-present). The Nationals, however, still have some work to do to set the franchise mark, as the Expos went deep in 71 consecutive series from April 16, 1998-June 18, 1999).

MID-WEEK WARRIORS

Washington has played its best ball in the middle of the week, going a combined 11-2 on Wednesday-Thursday this season (compared to 12-21 from Friday-Tuesday). The Nationals are 5-2 on Wednesday in 2013.

Highlights: 5.21.13

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5.21.13 – Giants 4, Nationals 2 (10 innings)

Stat of the Game: Stephen Strasburg turned in seven quality innings, allowing a single run while striking out seven. 

Under-the-Radar Performance: Ian Desmond had a pair of hits, including a two-out, RBI-double in the first inning.

It Was Over When: The Giants ended things in extra innings on a Pablo Sandoval home run.

What to Watch for: 5.21.13

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Washington Nationals (23-22) vs. San Francisco Giants (25-20)

RHP Stephen Strasburg (2-5, 2.83) vs. RHP Matt Cain (3-2, 5.43)

Washington sends Stephen Strasburg to the hill against Matt Cain in a battle of Opening Day starters. The Nationals look to bounce back after dropping the series opener, as Strasburg aims to build off his career-long eight-inning stint in San Diego last Thursday.

NATIONALS LINEUP:

1. Span CF

2. Harper RF

3. Zimmerman 3B

4. LaRoche 1B

5. Desmond SS

6. Espinosa 2B

7. Bernadina LF

8. Suzuki C

9. Strasburg RHP

MERRY STRASMAS

Dating back to his MLB debut (5-2 win vs. Pittsburgh, 6/8/10), Washington is 21-11 when Strasburg starts a game following a loss and 9-6 when he starts a game looking to end a losing streak of two or more (5-4 when attempting to end a losing streak of three or more games). The only other time these two starters faced off, Strasburg (6.0 IP, 3 H, ER, BB, 8 K) outdueled Cain in an 8-1 victory, July 9, 2010 at Nationals Park. Strasburg is 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA in two career starts vs. the Giants.

STARTING BLOCKS

Washington’s starting pitchers have been touched for 11 earned runs in the last two games, after putting together a stretch of nine consecutive starts allowing two or fewer earned runs (1.83 ERA in 59.0 starting innings from May 10-18). For the season, the Nationals starting staff ranks third in MLB/NL with a 3.34 ERA (102 ER/275.0 IP).

KURT HANGS 10

Kurt Suzuki has hit in 10 straight games, matching a career-best hit streak (July 1-12, 2009). During his current streak, which began on May 3, the catcher has batted .303 (10-for-33) with two walks, a double, two runs scored and two RBI.

What to Watch for: 5.20.13

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Washington Nationals (23-21) vs. San Francisco Giants (24-20)

LHP Zach Duke (0-0, 8.40) vs. RHP Ryan Vogelsong (1-4, 8.06)

The Nationals enter the third and final leg of their 10-game California road trip as they take on the Giants in San Francisco. Washington has won the opening contest of each stop of its road trip so far, 5-2 over Los Angeles last Monday and 5-2 again over San Diego on Thursday.

NATIONALS LINEUP:

1. Span CF

2. Lombardozzi 2B

3. Harper RF

4. Zimmerman 3B

5. LaRoche 1B

6. Desmond SS

7. Bernadina LF

8. Solano C

9. Duke LHP

ADAM’S SWEET 16

Adam LaRoche enters tonight’s action riding a 16-game hit streak, his career long and the longest by a Nationals player since Ryan Zimmerman hit in 16 straight from August 26-September 12, 2012. During the stretch, which began on May 2, LaRoche has gone 21-for-55 (.382) with nine walks, wo doubles, four homers, nine runs scored and 12 RBI, posting a .462 OBP & 1.098 OPS. His hit streak, which is the second-longest active streak in MLB (Giants Marco Scutaro, 17 games), has raised his average 100 points after hitting just .129 (11-for-85) in his initial 25 games this season.

KURT HANGS 10

Kurt Suzuki has hit in 10 straight games, matching a career-best hit streak (July 1-12, 2009). During his current streak, which began on May 3, the catcher has batted .303 (10-for-33) with two walks, a double, two runs scored and two RBI.

THE SERIES

The Nationals are 9-4 against the Giants over the last three seasons (‘11-current), including a 5-1 record last season. Washington went 2-1 last year at AT&T Park, marking their first series win in San Francisco since 2006. The AL Nationals and the New York Giants met twice in the World Series (1924, ‘33). Washington won its only World Championship in ‘24 via a 12-inning, 4-3 victory in Game 7. With 4.0 scoreless innings of relief, Hall-of-Famer Walter Johnson earned the Game 7 win.

Top 12 of ’12: #11 – Old School Walk-off

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Top1211When the Nationals and Giants matched up in early July in the Nation’s Capital, the series promised to be a stiff test for Washington, facing San Francisco pitchers Tim Lincecum, Madison Bumgarner and Matt Cain. But after dispatching the first two, handing each their worst loss of the season, the Nationals needed only to beat Cain – who had thrown a perfect game just four starts earlier – to complete the sweep. The teams both donned 1924-era jerseys that night, the fifth of July, in commemoration of the 1924 World Series between Washington and the then-New York Giants, which the Senators had won in dramatic fashion, erasing a late deficit and eventually taking the series in the bottom of the 12th of Game 7.

Cain was in command, as the Giants built a 5-1 advantage entering the bottom of the seventh. But Washington began chipping away, riding back-to-back solo shots from Ian Desmond and Danny Espinosa and a two-out, RBI-double from Bryce Harper in the seventh to cut the deficit to a single run. The score remained 5-4 until the rookie brigade took over in the ninth, with Tyler Moore doubling, Steve Lombardozzi laying down a sacrifice and reaching on an ensuing error, and Harper coming through again with an RBI-single to tie it up. After an intentional walk and a force at home, Adam LaRoche batted with the bases loaded and one out. He chopped a ball towards the hole at second, where Ryan Theriot fielded the ball and threw to second base for the force out. Brandon Crawford tried to relay the ball to first base to complete the double play, but his throw short-hopped Brandon Belt at first and got away, as Harper crossed the plate with the winning run. Just like 1924, Washington had come from behind for a thrilling, walk-off win.

Moment #12 – Ramos Flies

2012 Player Review: Roger Bernadina

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The Washington Nationals enjoyed unprecedented success in 2012, recording the best record in Major League Baseball. The team relied on the contributions of many different players, whom we will catalogue throughout the offseason as we look ahead to the 2013 campaign. We begin the list with everyone’s favorite selachimorph, Roger “The Shark” Bernadina.

The Curacao-born outfielder played in parts of four seasons for the Nationals before 2012, compiling a slash line of .242/.304/.364 in just under 900 plate appearances. His athleticism and flashes of superior defense gave fans hope that he might progress into a steady Major Leaguer, an evolution that finally took form this season. Bernadina posted the best all-around numbers of his career, hitting .291/.372/.405 with 11 doubles and five home runs in just 261 plate appearances. A midseason switch to a lighter bat helped him go on a 41-game tear over which he batted .395 (32-for-81) from June 28-August 17, raising his average by 73 points.

However, he was at his best during the crucial four-game home set with Atlanta in mid-July (over which he went 8-for-13) and on the team’s season-long 10-game road trip in early August, where he turned in a four-hit game in San Francisco and this season-defining catch to win a game in Houston.

With his tremendous speed and range in the outfield, Bernadina offered the Nationals a versatile option as a left-handed pinch-hitter, pinch-runner, or defensive replacement off the bench this year. He will be arbitration eligible for the first time in 2013, but remains under team control through the 2016 season.

Shark fans out there may not have to wait until Spring to see Bernadina play, as he is rumored to be taking part in the World Baseball Classic as part of Team Netherlands, the country that stakes ownership to the Antilles islands, including Curacao.

Do You Know Your Enemy?

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There was much speculation as to who the Nationals would be better off facing in the National League Division Series heading into last night’s Cardinals-Braves Wild Card game. With the dust now settled and the team in St. Louis, we’re here to provide an objective analysis of the three National League teams that Washington has the possibility of encountering this postseason and how well the Nats match up against each. First, though, let’s take a look at what the Nationals have working in their favor, regardless of their opponent.

SERIES BUSINESS

For the Nationals to be successful in the postseason, they will need to stick to the same approach they have had all season long: win the series. That has been the mantra since day one, and while a five or seven-game series differs from a two, three, or four-gamer, the principle remains the same. In that vein, the Nationals finished the 2012 regular season with a 32-12-8 series record. In other words, they won 32 of their 52 series outright (61.5%), and earned at least a split in 40 of them (76.9%). Washington was swept only four times all season long, while returning the favor on nine occasions, including three-game sets at Atlanta in late May and at home against San Francisco in early July.

SHOW ON THE ROAD

While Washington’s 50-31 home record was tied for the top mark in the National League, it is their nearly equal 48-33 road mark that stands out. Not only is that the best away tally in all of baseball, but it includes 2-1 records in both Cincinnati and San Francisco and a 5-4 mark in Atlanta. The Nats ability to win away from D.C. will be a crucial factor in how far their October ride will take them.

OPPONENTS

St. Louis Cardinals

88-74 overall, 11.0 GB in NL Central (Second Wild Card)

Nationals record vs. St. Louis in 2012: 4-3

World Champions until they are eliminated, the Cardinals are a dangerous opponent that features the highest scoring offense of any postseason club in the National League. Combined with their veteran rotation and playoff experience, the Cards will not be an easy out, but it’s hard to say how Washington will match up, with both teams winning their home series convincingly during the regular season. The good news: the Cardinals rotation (Garcia: 0-1, 10.13; Lohse: 0-0, 6.94; Lynn: 1-1, 9.82; Wainwright: 1-1, 7.27) has not fared well against the Nats bats. We’ll have more on the Cardinals in a full NLDS preview tomorrow.

Cincinnati Reds

97-65 overall, NL Central Champions

Nationals record vs. Cincinnati in 2012: 5-2

Reds fans will point out that all of the seven matchups between these two teams occurred very early in the season, when ace Johnny Cueto was on the Disabled List. However, Jayson Werth and Ryan Zimmerman both missed the second series, while Bryce Harper was still in Syracuse for the first matchup and Michael Morse was absent for both. It could be very reasonably argued that the Nationals team the Reds could face in October is significantly better offensively (perhaps defensively as well, with Zimmerman and Harper) than the one that took five-of-seven from Cincinnati in April and May.

San Francisco Giants

94-68 overall, NL West Champions

Nationals record vs. San Francisco in 2012: 5-1

The Giants have improved offensively down the stretch, despite the loss of Melky Cabrera, but will rely on their formidable starting rotation to try to replicate their 2010 World Series run. However, the Nationals have fared particularly well against the San Francisco starters as well, with Tim Lincecum, Madison Bumgarner and Ryan Vogelsong’s worst individual starts of the year ALL coming against the Nats. In fact, add in top starter Matt Cain and the quartet that went a combined 55-36 with a 3.42 ERA (294 ER/772.2 IP) against the rest of baseball managed just a 1-4 record with an 8.80 ERA (30 ER/30.2 IP) against Washington this year.

Breaking Down the Signature Moments of 2012

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The Postseason Issue of Nationals Magazine is on sale now through the end of the National League Division Series at Nationals Park.

Over the course of 162 regular season games, there are too many dramatic moments to recount in just a few short pages. So, we’ve picked out a few that we believe were some of the most vital and memorable in the Nationals 2012 campaign for our Postseason Issue of Nationals Magazine. With the benefit of hindsight, it’s easy to reflect on each of these Signature Moments and realize that, of course, in their own unique way, each would prove pivotal to this memorable Nationals season. But in the excitement of the moment, with the rush of adrenaline still coursing through our veins, did we really, fully appreciate the splendor of what we had just witnessed? We dust off our coverage of each to help you relive every last detail. Once you’ve soaked it all in (again), vote for your favorite in the poll at the bottom of the page.

OPENING STATEMENTS
Lost in the fanfare of the home opener at Nationals Park, or even Gio Gonzalez’s sparkling home debut on the mound, was the southpaw’s handy-work with the bat as he notched his first career hit that day. Here’s how we saw it:

As Gonzalez ran to first, he watched the ball the whole way. As it finally fell to the grass, he whipped his head towards the Nationals dugout, mouth open in an ecstatic, toothy grin. After he rounded first, he walked back to the bag with his head tilted back skywards, an expression of relief, yes, but more so pure happiness. As the bat boy returned the ball to the dugout for safekeeping, he also retrieved the pitcher’s big red jacket, to help keep the hurlers arm warm through the rest of his sparkling home debut.

As for Edwin Jackson’s gem later in the series, do you recall who provided the offensive support? Hint: You could look up Jackson’s no-hitter with Arizona back in 2010. Or just visit the link above.

NATITUDE WEEKEND
NATITUDE Weekend just about speaks for itself, but they say a picture is worth 1,000 words, right? Check the post from that series for even more of our favorite fan photos.

TURN BACK THE CLOCK NIGHT

The Nationals and Giants went all out in recreating the feel of the 1924 World Series, from the throwback scoreboard and uniforms all the way down to a walk-off win for Washington. But if you haven’t seen the retro-inspired game highlights, there’s no time like the present to refresh your memory.

BEAST OF A COMEBACK
The improbable comeback win in Milwaukee – led by Michael Morse – undoubtedly stands as one of the signature moments of the 2012 season, but Curly W Live to puts it in its proper historical perspective:

Perhaps most importantly, it capped a 6-1 road trip that kept the Nationals a full four games ahead of division rival Atlanta as the weekend came to a close. It also left them at 61-40, the first time the franchise has been this many games over .500 since its relocation to the Nation’s Capital.

What to Watch For: 8/15

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Washington Nationals (72-45) vs. San Francisco Giants (64-53)

RHP Stephen Strasburg (13-5, 2.90) vs. RHP Tim Lincecum (6-12, 5.35)

The Nationals and Giants are slated for a marquee rubber game on Wednesday afternoon after splitting the first two matchups. Hard-throwing righties Stephen Strasburg and Tim Lincecum go head-to-head as Washington looks to close an impressive road trip on a winning note.

NATIONALS LINEUP

1. Lombardozzi 2B

2. Harper CF

3. Zimmerman 3B

4. LaRoche 1B

5. Morse LF

6. Werth RF

7. Espinosa SS

8. Suzuki C

9. Strasburg RHP

WHEN THE RUBBER HITS THE ROAD

The Nationals are 4-2 in rubber games this year, having won 8-4 on July 1 at Atlanta, 5-2 on June 21 vs. Tampa Bay, 2-1 May 3 vs. Arizona and 4-0 April 11 at New York (NL). However, Washington is 0-2 all-time in rubber games at AT&T Park (L, 1-3 in ‘11, L, 4-5 in ‘10). The Nationals have not lost a road series since the O’s took two-of-three at Oriole Park from June 22-24. Washington is 5-0-2 (win-loss-split) in seven road series since.

STRASBURG MAKES FIRST START AGAINST THE GIANTS

California native Stephen Strasburg will toe the rubber for the first time at AT&T Park later this afternoon. His only other career start against the Giants came on July 9, 2010 when he outpitched Matt Cain, working 6.0 strong innings, allowing one run on three hits while striking out eight to earn the win. Strasburg is looking for his third win in a row after claiming victories over Miami on 8/5 and at Arizona on 8/10.

 THE POWER OF THE MIDDLE MEN

The Nationals rank 2nd in MLB with 31 home runs from their middle infielders (Ian Desmond 17, Danny Espinosa 12, Steve Lombardozzi 2). Only the Yankees (34) have more.

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What to Watch For: 8/14

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Washington Nationals (72-44) vs. San Francisco Giants (63-53)

RHP Jordan Zimmermann (9-6, 2.35) vs. LHP Madison Bumgarner (12-7, 3.08)

The Nationals set an AT&T Park record by rapping out 21 hits in a 14-2 series-opening victory over the Giants on Monday night to move to 7-1 on their current 10-game road swing. Jordan Zimmermann squares off against Madison Bumgarner tonight in a matchup of two the brightest young pitchers in the National League.

NATIONALS LINEUP

1. Espinosa SS

2. Harper CF

3. Zimmerman 3B

4. Werth RF

5. LaRoche 1B

6. Moore LF

7. Flores C

8. Lombardozzi 2B

9. Zimmermann RHP

START ME UP

After his offensive brethren put up eight earned runs in 2.2 innings against Ryan Vogelsong last night, Zimmermann now boasts a National League-leading 2.35 ERA. Tonight, he will look to win his second game in a row after fanning 11 against the Houston Astros last Thursday. Jordan is 3-0 in his last three starts against the Giants including a victory on July 3, when he spun 6.0 innings of one-run ball. 

HE PLAYS THE ROAD

In the first eight games of the Nats current 11-game road trip, Steve Lombardozzi is 13-for-36 (.361) with a double, triple, three walks and seven runs scored. He has hit safely in six of the eight tilts, including multi-hit efforts in four of the last five. Lombo has more hits on the road (46) than he does at Nationals Park this season (43).

THE GAP

The Nationals 5.5-game lead in the NL East matches the club’s largest in eight years in D.C. The 2005 Nationals held 5.5-game advantages at the completion of play on both July 2 and 3. Note that this is also the largest lead of the season for the Nationals, topping their previous 5.0 game advantage on June 13. In addition to the 5.5 game cushion, the Nationals have matched their zenith at 28 games above .500. The ‘33 AL Nationals (99-53) were the last DC-based club to climb as many as 28 games above the break-even mark.

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